Year in review and looking ahead

Hello dear ones, how are we feeling?

I’d like to take a little moment just for you to check how you are feeling, take a deep breath and just settle in for a little read. I’d also like to thank you all, our little community, for all your support this year. I’m so thankful for those of you reading my posts, my thoughts on different topics, it’s been quite the year hasn’t it? Welcome to all the very new people too, you are most welcome here.

This is a bit of a stereotypical post I suppose but I feel like doing it anyway. This year has undoubtedly been hard, at times heart-wrenching, and chaotic, I could easily list and rhyme off countless miseries of the year. But I’m more about hope in this little space. At times it can be more powerful than sadness and fear, which a lot of people can experience at this point. A time when post festive season blues can kick in, or when it can feel daunting that another year is here. People online mocking those thinking 2021 will “magically” be better. But I say, what’s stopping it from being like that?

Now, I’ve pretty much kept you all up to date on what I have been going through but I thought it’d be great to just have a little summary post of things I have enjoyed, little moments, small wins and what I’m so looking forward to now in this new year.

I think one of my all time favourite moments of 2020 was when I was down at my partner’s and we spent a hot, sunny day on the beachfront, sat on a bench and watching innumerous dogs pass by. It was just such a wonderful time, where I felt carefree and I was with my favourite person. We were just sat there for over an hour, and I loved it. Christmas was also so, so wonderful and I got to take plenty of Polaroids to put in a new scrapbook, very retro. Much earlier in the year I got to present and do a bit of motivational speaking for the first time, rather than purely speaking my experiences. It was so much fun!

I am proud of a few accomplishments of 2020 including passing another year of university with flying colours, starting my final year. I have, this festive season, tried two new foods and really enjoyed them. Earlier in 2020 I also found I could watch certain foods cook without being so averse to it. These are huge wins on their own.

I have learned the true value of gratitude and been so appreciative of my aspects of my life. My strength truly has been tested like never before and I’m still coming out winning. As my dissociation got worse, I became so afraid, but with the help of others and through my own self-determination I’m getting back on track. Again, I’m very grateful for this.

So what’s ahead? Well, a lot. This will be the year I finally graduate, I am hoping to do my Master’s Degree if not finding a job in mental health. I will be moving out, across the country. I hope to do more volunteering. I will be continuing this blog. I will get answers about what is causing all my physical pain, I will be trying to get my body stronger. I hope to finally be able to have savings.

It’s definitely sounding like a lot for that. But for now, my goals for the first quarter are to focus on assignments, get a little workout regime sorted and eat a little better, have a small emergency savings fund, focus on deepening my connection to Buddhism and finding a new volunteering placement. Little actions with little steps are the key here. Of course, I will also hopefully create some good content for you here as this section of the internet has been so wonderful for me. I hope that is reciprocated.

I hope you are able to find some wins in 2020, and I hope you all have a magical year ahead filled with such joy, goodness and happiness.

Be gentle with yourself and take care,

L x

Post-Christmas

Hello all.

I apologise for the lack of posting last week, I was a bit unwell and burned out after a very difficult Friday, but I am now well-ish and back.

This week has gone well, I feel very appreciative of my mood being better. As the world knows, Friday was Christmas. I had doubts a few months back about what Christmas would look like and whether there would be joy. I was very glad to be proven wrong, this Christmas season has been utterly wonderful. My partner who is still here for a little while got to celebrate Christmas with my family.

Simply put, there was good food and very good company. I got some very thougthful presents and there was much joy to be had and some good entertainment. I ended the day rather relaxed. Boxing day yesterday, was a bit busy doing a few jobs that needed doing but we have more than relaxed today.

I am not going to list or show all the presents I got, that was a reason why I came off of social media, I don’t see the point. It was actually so wonderful to simply be in the moment, taking the odd polaroid picture to capture the day and be with those closest to me. I sent the occasional text to friends, it was bliss.

I dressed up a bit for the day, which I haven’t done in so long and felt nice. By 4pm I was in loungewear I won’t lie. I also managed to stay sober despite the temptations which is a massive win. I have also found two new foods I like this festive season. I am so proud of myself!

I have nothing but praise and thanks for this year’s Christmas; I am ever more thankful each year that passes.

How was your Christmas?

Love,

L x

The struggle of simply being

In a world full of people and their constant reminders to be busy, productive, successful and focused on the future or the next ‘big thing’. Or being so lost in the past. It can be hard to find yourself stopping and enjoying the moment that is in front of us right now. One of the hardest lessons I am still learning is balance. Balance of how to just be. Acknowledging the appreciation and comfort of being in the present. Many years ago after my first breakdown I was swarming through the past, I saw no future and lived for the weekends to distract myself. I never had solid goals or healthy long-term plans for the future. Whilst this did change, I was still never comfortable just sitting and savouring the current moments. Even over the last few months my manic periods had me planning large projects I would love to do but would ultimately never complete. My darker moments saw me drowning in emotions. A lot of the time I would take on too much when the good days came. However, more recently I have been able to have these deep moments of focusing on the present and having that comfort and peace I needed in the activity I was doing (usually reading). I firmly believe that to increase our wellness there needs to be a balance of where we lie our energies. Having goals and working towards the future is something I encourage. But I also want to emphasise that there is a silent, soft and growing power in simply being. In purely enjoying the moment you are in. Whether that is putting your whole mind and heart into an activity or having a short moment without planning or doing anything. This could be through reflecting, pondering and even breathing. I want to take a moment to explain a little bit more about why having a balanced mindset around our perspective of time can be beneficial to our wellbeing. It has been found that people having a ‘balanced time perspective’ are happier, more satisfied with life, people feel like they have a stronger purpose in life and are generally more optimistic. What this means is, having the ability to be able to focus the right amount of taking the best from the past and having a healthy perspective of the future can make a really positive impact on the present. I have many days where I am able to have this balance and replenish my energy, my self in times where I can just cosy up and read all day. But of course, this is real life and this isn’t always possible. But there are many ways of being able to find the balance: all it requires is active intent. This could be practicing gratitude, spending an hour or an evening focused on relaxation and doing something nourishing for you. I especially feel that if there are moments where boredom kicks in, which it does, and you go to check social media, that it should sometimes be spent as quiet contemplation, I feel a lot can be learned about yourself in those moments. Much happiness, L x

Gratitude

Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough. Oprah Winfrey
Gratitude is a word, a concept, a feeling, that we all know and understand. But so many of us do not truly know the power of it. Simply put, gratitude is an overwhelming sense of being thankful, a need to return kindness or show appreciation to another. To actively practice gratitude is a must-do for well-being and increasing positivity in your life. Many do not do this and today, I would like to take this opportunity to share why I now love practicing gratitude. Gratitude is so vital for positivity and happiness as feeling thankful allows you to feel joy, it can, literally, bring happiness. There is also increasing evidence showing that grateful people are more enthusiastic, interested and optimistic than those who aren’t. Having this kind of disposition means you are less likely to be anxious or depressed and within psychology, gratitude is often highly associated with life satisfaction. Even more than that, gratitude is also related to your ‘sense of coherence’, helping you to feel like life is more manageable, comprehensible and meaningful. (Salutogenesis, Antonovsky, 1979) Many people do struggle with being thankful. It is so easy for us to fall into the trap of focusing on our burdens and remaining in a negative mind state rather than seeing the abundance of goodness in our lives. But practicing gratitude regularly can condition your mind to see things in a more positive light, to be able to reframe experiences. Whilst life inevitably gets in the way of positive emotions, your energy is better spent on finding solutions to your problems rather than wondering what will go wrong next. One of the most common ways to practice is to keep a gratitude journal, whether that is a good old paper and pen version, or electronically in this modern age. Whilst many recommend writing every day, I myself found that it quickly became a chore, an alternative is spending just 15 minutes at the end of the week, writing down everything you are grateful for that week. It does not have to be major accomplishments it could be as simple as being grateful you took a water bottle on a run when you started to feel dehydrated. As months go by you will hopefully notice that you will start looking at life more positively and feel better in yourself being able to look back at the positive moments happening in your life. If you wish to do it every day, feel free to do so, even thinking of a couple of positive moments from earlier that day can boost your mood. Another simple exercise, from Professor Martin Seligman, is known as ‘what went well’. For this exercise, you first think of three things that went well that day and then you describe why it went well. This has been a tested and proven way to increase happiness and gratitude. Every day I find myself thankful for something and it reminds me of how much goodness I have in my life, despite anything negative also occurring. In those moments I feel lightened and happier and I hope you can feel the same. Happiness to you, L x